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Cinema/TV, Film Notes

Film review – Bitten (2008)

My notes on Bitten (2008)Paramedic Jack (Jason Mewes), a loser with a whining just-ex girlfriend Sherry (Jordan Madley), finds Danika (Erica Cox), a blood-covered naked girl, dumped in the alley outside his crappy (if cavernous) apartment. He takes her in, cleans her up, and tries to help her – she says she has amnesia, and it turns out that she’s just been turned into a vampire and joneses badly for live human blood. Animals and donor blood don’t help, and soon she’s killing scumbag drug dealers and other, more innocent folks who come within range. Jack wavers about when to cut her off.

This very simple, obviously low-budget vampire film, directed by Harv Glazer from a script by Tim McGregor and Tyler Levine, follows Habit and The Addiction in its depiction of vampirism as an equivalent to drug addiction, but also falls into the vampire-chick-in-my-apartment category of The Insatiable and She Lives by Night. Jack’s graveyard shift job makes him (as elaborated in Bringing Out the Dead) like a vampire anyway, and a string of girlfriends like Sherry have got him used to living around a metaphorical bloodsucking fiend – of course, Danika kills Sherry, and she comes back to life inside her bubble-wrap shroud as a maddened, fang-mawed thing which needs to be staked instantly. Jack isn’t sure whether Danika wants a boyfriend, a protector, a Renfield-style minion or a fast feed, but she’s hot enough to keep around anyway – at least until all the available stashing places for exsanguinated corpses dry up. The film is more concerned with crass chatter — mostly from Jack’s older partner Roger (Richard Fitzpatrick), nudity and gore (there’s a typical Playboy Channel threesome scene with a blonde pickup, then a bloody morning aftermath) – than nuance, which is why it doesn’t even rise to the level of The Insatiable or Demon Under Glass in its central relationship. Mewes can project a certain grungy sweetness and is better here than in the horrible Bottoms Up!, but Jack still comes over as a dimwit rather than desperate enough to get into this situation; and Danika is a blank with a hot bod, and the amnesia get-out means we don’t have to cope with a backstory or any character (we never find out who bit her in the first place, and whether they’re still around).

A few other folks – some dealers in the alley, a nagging landlady – are in the film solely to provide victim fodder and string out the inevitable. In the finale, Jack and Danika turn on each other when she makes the moves on his father figure – Danika is destroyed, but after the end credits, there’s a Shaun of the Dead-ish bit with Roger feeding a feral vampire Jack gore out of a dogfood-dish. It’s pimped out a little with jazzy titles, oddments like day-of-the-week captions in Spanish (?) and the use of a children’s TV anthem about cleaning when Jack is tidying up after the latest bloodbath, and at least shows a certain professional gloss – as opposed to many, many vampire movies out there. Still, very minor.

Discussion

One thought on “Film review – Bitten (2008)

  1. Kris Saknussemm Good review. I get it.

    Pat Cadigan Excellently written up, Kim dear. I’d actually like to see it, minor as it is.

    Imbaratz Jones It needs Genevieve to bring it some lady bloodsucker class.

    Richard Harland Smith Crappy and cavernous is practically a genre in and of itself.

    Stephen Mandell Turned it off after about 15 minutes.

    Posted by kimnewman | November 20, 2019, 6:22 pm

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